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Rates For The Job (1967)

Courtesy of Liverpool City Council

Main image of Rates For The Job (1967)
16mm, colour, 20 mins
DirectorKen Pople
Production CompanyWest of England Film Studios
SponsorLiverpool City Corporation
ProducerStanley Jones-Frank
PhotographyDavid Bowerman
CommentatorGordon Henry Davies

An explanation of how Liverpool council spends the £20 million rates money on essential services such as education, medical services, housing, transport, etc.

Show full synopsis

Rates for the Job was commissioned by the City of Liverpool's Public Relations Office in 1966 in order to inform Liverpool's citizens exactly what they received in exchange for their rates. It was produced by the West of England Film Unit Ltd of Bristol and is part of a trilogy of films made on behalf of the Corporation at the same time.

Unlike the other two films in the trilogy - Turn of the Tide and Liverpool Sounding - which were aimed at promoting Liverpool and bringing companies and people into the city, Rates for the Job is aimed at the people of Liverpool themselves. The city's Public Relations Office saw film as a good method of disseminating information, but rather than just dealing with hard facts and figures, the film moves to a more personal tone and attempts to show how rate payers and their families receive other benefits such as education, good health and housing. Rate-payers, council officials and beneficiaries all talk about their own work and experiences.

At the time the film was made, Liverpool was experiencing a period of growth and prosperity, and was very optimistic about its future. Numerous manufacturing, pharmaceutical and engineering companies had all moved into areas such as Speke and Aintree and by the mid-1960s unemployment in the city had fallen to around 5%. This mood of optimism is reflected in the film, with the Council's investment in the new runway at Liverpool Airport and plans for an ambitious city centre regeneration scheme cited as ways that the rates were being used to prepare for the future.

However, the optimism of the film was sadly misplaced. Liverpool's fortunes fell into rapid decline during the 1970s and 80s, and by the end of the latter decade, the city was one of the most deprived in Europe.

Nick Gladden

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
Complete Film (18:42)
Liverpool Sounding (1967)
Turn of the Tide (1967)
Liverpool: Shaping the City